An inbound contact center is a business system that mainly handles inbound phone calls from existing customers and leads. Inbound contact centers generally tend to be more customer service-based, focused on taking calls that require answering customer queries, resolving customer concerns, and dealing with customer complaints.
Since your inbound agents are business representatives guiding your customers, your inbound contact center team needs to be thoroughly trained, courteous, and well-versed in your business policy. This article will explore the functions of an inbound contact center, its pros and cons, and what makes it different from an outbound call center.
What is Inbound in Contact Center?
With inbound contact center technologies, business representatives or contact center agents receive incoming customer calls instead of actively making calls. Therefore, the functionality of an inbound contact center is to cater to customer queries, concerns, and complaints and not find leads to increase sales. Agents working at an inbound contact center actively provide tech support, general guidance, product assistance, and quick and practical solutions to general product issues or billing problems.
Contact center automation, agent productivity, and quick call resolution times are critical for the success of inbound contact centers. Most inbound contact centers use interactive voice response (IVR) technology before directing customers to a live agent. Intelligent routing makes IVR efficient by effectively routing, tracking, and escalating tasks to the first available and most suitable contact center agent.
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What is the Difference Between Outbound and Inbound Contact Centers?
Outbound contact centers focus on sales instead of customer support. Either warm calls are made to potential customers or cold calls to leads who have previously had some interaction with the company. Outcalls in outbound contact centers are made to potential customers, and how these turn off depends significantly on the recipient’s mood.
Cold calls are made for setting appointments, conducting market research, generating leads, telemarketing, and telesales. In contrast, warm calls are made to individuals who have previously interacted with the organization. Unlike cold calls, friendly calls are expected by receivers and have better conversion rates.
Typically, an inbound contact center receives incoming calls, while an outbound contact center makes outgoing calls. A good customer service team in inbound contact centers monitors calls from existing customers regarding queries, issues, or complaints. On the contrary, sales teams cold-call prospects in outbound centers to conduct market surveys or market their products. Both outbound and inbound contact centers can either be run internally within organizations or be outsourced. Calls catered to at an inbound contact center can usually be divided into customer support, inbound sales calls, calls seeking technical support, and subscription renewal call.
Inbound sales calls made by prospective buyers require the inbound contact center management staff to possess a deep understanding and knowledge of their products to share the required information, helping turn the lead into a customer.
Calls for general customer support require the inbound contact center’s customer support staff to guide product returns, adjust contact details, take customer feedback, and answer company practices and policy queries. Using contact center call recordings for agent productivity is a good method for monitoring inbound support calls and coaching agents to improve.
Subscription renewal calls from existing customers who are satisfied with your product and looking for an upgrade or renewal. These calls require assistance for renewal. Therefore, these are directed to authorized agents at the inbound contact center.
Calls for technical support in an e-contact center are made by existing customers when they experience technical problems with their product. Customers often make these calls in an annoying mood. Therefore inbound contact center agents must stay calm and composed as they walk the customer through the troubleshooting process.
What are the Advantages of an Inbound Contact Center?
Inbound contact centers aim to assist customers through live operators, chatbots, and other contact channels to provide a refined customer service experience, reduce call waiting times, improve workflows and employee productivity, and enhance the geographical reach of the business.
Refined Customer Service
Inbound contact centers have trained representatives who handle a variety of customer queries and complaints with thorough knowledge of the product and level-headedness. These centers ensure customer satisfaction by staying reachable and helpful at all hours. In addition, some inbound contact centers offer a variety of value-added services too.
Reduced Call Wait Times
Waiting for a representative to respond when frustrated with an issue can be very annoying for a customer. The trained professionals at inbound contact centers work hard to provide helpful insights as quickly as possible. These contact centers route calls to the most appropriate and first-available customer service agents.
Optimized Employee Productivity and Streamlined Workflows
Since an inbound contact center with trained agents can easily manage high call volumes, it allows the remaining workforce to focus on other value-adding tasks and experience streamlined workflows.
Increased Geographical Reach
An inbound contact center is great for international contact center support since caters to customer calls from all over the world at all hours. By staying reachable and providing satisfying services, these centers boost the business's geographical reach, generating leads through telemarketing and customer service activities.
What are the Disadvantages of the Inbound Contact Center?
Although helpful in settling customer queries and complaints, inbound contact centers have limitations that can financially impact your business if left unaddressed.
If your inbound contact center works as an onsite business function, having thoroughly trained and well-versed agents should give you some control over the quality of your customer service. However, an outsourced inbound contact center might lack in providing the quality you wish for. Having under-trained agents at your inbound contact center can be a blow to your business as they will impact customer satisfaction and might not be able to solve customer issues due to a lack of expertise.
An offshore inbound contact center or outsourced contact center may lag in understanding your target audience's general preferences if there are significant cultural barriers.
How to Compare the Best Inbound Contact Center Systems
Comparing inbound contact center solutions for their offerings is essential to find the best system for your business needs. Important features to look out for include:
- Advanced Dynamic Scripting Capabilities
- Automatic Call Distributor (ACD)
- Call Back Reminders
- Hosted Interactive Voice Response (IVR) System
- Personalized Customer Experience (CX) Strategy and Tools
- Real-time Contact Center Analytics and Reporting
- Skills-Based Call Routing
Comparing the best inbound contact center systems can help you identify important functionality from user reviews and ensure that you choose the contact center tools for your business needs.